September 27, 2009 in national
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
QUEZON CITY — Gabriela Party List Representative Liza Largoza Maza criticized the Arroyo administration as another reported case of harassment by believed elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against writer and University of the Philippines (UP) Jun Cruz Reyes was brought up.
“The repressive arm of the Arroyo administration seems to expand its targets of surveillance not only to organizers and leaders of partylist groups, church people, and journalists but now it also includes artists and members of the academe,” Maza said.
On September 13, an unidentified man approached Reyes at an eatery and suddenly took pictures of him without permission. He revealed that on September 10 and 13, men looking like soldiers are roaming around his house in Bulacan. He said that in August 2007, two men attempted to enter his house but ran away when neighbors noticed them because of the barking of Reyes’ dog.
Reyes also said that also on November 15, 2007, men in military fatigues with faces covered tried to bribe his neighbors to tell his whereabouts. Earlier, Reyes said that in 2006, he was warned by a friend that he was included in the AFP’s order-of-battle and possibly a target for liquidation.
Reyes along with National Artist Bienvenido Lumberra protested Malacañang’s intervention on the selection of National Artists for 2009.
Recently on September 17, an enlisted AFP intelligence identified as Corporal Guererro Hannibal Mosura Mondido was caught by security guards of the subdivision where Lumberra is a resident. Mondido was apprehended while he was taking photos and asking information about Lumberra. The intelligence agent was turned over to the Quezon City police.
Later, the Philippine Navy admitted Guererro is their active personnel undergoing “surveillance training”.
Lumberra is a National Artist for Literature and a 1993 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee. He is the founding member and chairperson of the ACT Partylist. He is also a former chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers. He is also a national council member of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance or Bayan).
“What warrants the brazenness of the military in conducting these activities?” Maza asked. She added that government agents are violating the constitutional rights of Reyes and Lumberra and this kind of harassment can not be allowed to continue.
In a press conference on September 22, Reyes and Lumberra joined by Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez in condemning the military surveillance and harassment against them. “Victims of human rights violations would report that they observed being followed or that their homes or offices being under heavy surveillance by unidentified men prior to abductions or killings. And this is a reason for us to be alarmed and concerned,” Enriquez said.
Maza demanded the military to stop conducting all these military surveillance and should respect the rights of civilians.# nordis.net